If you have a prior conviction on your criminal record, you might not be allowed to buy or possess firearms in California.
California’s gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation. The state has strict regulations on what types of guns are legal, how they can be sold or transported, and who can possess them. As part of this, people who have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors can have their gun rights removed.
If you have lost your Second Amendment rights, you might be able to get them back. Restoration of gun rights can be difficult and complicated, but generally, it is possible unless you’ve been convicted of:
- A felony involving a dangerous weapon
- Domestic violence
Your first step to having your gun rights restored is speaking with a gun rights attorney in California. Your attorney can examine your specific situation, and he or she will advise you of your options and the quickest route to restoration of gun rights.
Losing your right to buy or own guns in California
Under California law, five classes of people are not allowed to buy or carry firearms. These groups are:
- Felons. This is anyone who has been convicted of a felony offense in any jurisdiction.
- People who have been convicted of certain misdemeanors. This category includes people who have received misdemeanor convictions for crimes like assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling or car, brandishing a firearm and others.
- Narcotics addicts. Both state and federal law prevent people who are “addicted” (physically and emotionally dependent) to narcotics from possessing firearms.
- People who suffer from mental illnesses. This can apply to a number of different situations, but the most common cases are for people who’ve received two involuntary commitments within a year, inpatient treatment for alcoholism or voluntary treatment for being a danger to themselves or others.
- Minors. In other words, anyone under 18.
In addition to the categories above, California courts have the right to impose firearms restrictions in two situations as a specific condition of probation or a court-issued protective order.
You can check your firearms eligibility status with the California Department of Justice for $20. You don’t need to disclose any firearms you currently own when completing the check.
Restoring your gun rights in California
Depending on why your gun rights were revoked, there are different ways to restore your gun rights in California. Two of the most common are:
- Reducing a felony “wobbler” conviction to a misdemeanor
- Obtaining a California Certificate of Rehabilitation and gubernatorial pardon
Reducing a felony ‘wobbler’ to a misdemeanor
“Wobblers” are crimes that can be punished as either a felony or misdemeanor. If you have been convicted of a felony wobbler, it might be possible to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor. This will result in the restoration of your gun rights.
In some cases, it’s not possible to reduce a felony wobbler to a misdemeanor. This includes felonies involving a dangerous weapon, domestic violence convictions and felonies which require a sentence in California State Prison. Speak with your attorney about your specific situation to find out if you are eligible.
Felony wobbler charges can be reduced at any time, so you can file a petition even if you are still on probation.
California Certificate of Rehabilitation
Another way to restore your gun rights is by receiving a California Certificate of Rehabilitation, which shows that you have been successfully rehabilitated following a conviction. The application for a Certificate of Rehabilitation is made to the superior court in the county where you live.
To apply, you must have lived in California for at least five (5) years since the completion of your sentence or your release.
Once you obtain your Certificate of Rehabilitation, it becomes an automatic application for a gubernatorial pardon. The governor’s office has complete discretion on determining whether or not to give you a pardon, and it is subject to the circumstances around your conviction and your criminal history.
Contact a California gun rights attorney today
The first step of getting your gun rights back is speaking with an attorney to begin the process. Robert M. Helfend is a veteran defense and gun rights attorney who has practiced in the Los Angeles area since 1984.
He is rated by SuperLawyers, Lead Counsel and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Call today for your free case review – 800-834-6434.